2A Nuclear Conference Preview
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
2. North Fremont
3. West Jefferson
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jace Erickson, Firth
Paul Wynn, North Fremont
Jordan Hess, North Fremont
Braeden Larsen, West Jefferson
Landen Larsen, West Jefferson
Ryker Player, Ririe
Written by Katie Knight
Having the defending state champions and the third-place team from the 2019 state tournament proves the Nuclear Conference is a basketball powerhouse.
Firth was voted to the top spot as they look for a return trip to the state tournament. The Cougars have a storied history with seven state championships in the past 12 years.
Head coach Art Poulson returns for his third season and will have a team known for their pressure defense. The Cougars will have a roster with experience, led by senior guards Jace Erickson and Canon Carpenter. Poulson’s squad will push the tempo with their speed and athleticism.
North Fremont had a banner year in 2018-2019, bringing home hardware as the state champions, academic state champions and receiving the Sportsmanship Award. With head coach Shannon Hill at the helm for the first season, the Huskies won the first state championship in school history.
The Huskies graduated Garrett Hawkes and Chris Hansen but are returning a strong roster. Senior posts Paul Wynn and Tyler Shuldberg are joined by senior guard Jordan Hess and junior guard Luke Hill. North Fremont will look to create success by distributing the ball for the highest percentage shot and a high-pressure man to man defense.
Moving up the ranks in the Nuclear Conference is West Jefferson, returning a deep roster led by the Larsen twins, Braeden and Landen. They will team up with fellow senior Branson Marten. West Jefferson is looking to use their speed and athleticism on both ends of the court under the direction of Dave Hardy.
Ririe is in a rebuilding year with only one returning player from the previous season and having graduated all-around threat, Micheal Ure. Ryker Player is the lone athlete with varsity experience and will lead the Bulldogs for new head coach Jordan Hamilton.
Hamilton has a team that is excited to write their own story.
“Because no one has seen these kids at this level, we have a chance to show what kind of team we will be right from the start,” Hamilton said. “We have all the power to show how hard we play and how determined we are as a team.”
The Bulldogs will look to run the floor and bring an elevated level of physicality to the game. Hamilton expects his team to use their speed to their advantage and “prove themselves in a conference stacked with great players and brilliant coaches.”
Salmon will be the underdogs in the Nuclear Conference as they continue to build their program with second-year head coach Ray Wood.